Energy and displacement in eight objects


This report from the UK think tank Chatham House looks at insights from sub-Saharan Africa on energy and displacement.

This ethnographic study is the first of its kind to analyse energy access and resilience strategies deployed in two refugee camps in Kenya and Burkina Faso. It highlights the need for new methodological approaches to expand the evidence base for humanitarian energy interventions and policies. In recent years, clean energy access for refugees and internally displaced people has emerged as a potential method of improving humanitarian outcomes and enabling self-reliance. While recent research emphasizes the need for more quantitative data to inform energy access interventions, better qualitative understanding would also improve innovation in this area.

This ethnographic study is the first of its kind to analyse energy access and resilience strategies deployed in two refugee camps, Kakuma in Kenya and Goudoubo in Burkina Faso. The stories of residents in these camps demonstrate the importance of considering everyday experiences of displaced people in developing sustainable humanitarian energy interventions. This paper highlights the need for new methodological approaches to expand the evidence base for humanitarian energy interventions and policies. Future research could usefully inform humanitarian energy projects by examining the technical knowledge and existing practices of refugees in the design of energy technologies, systems and business models. Uptake and sustained use of new systems may be more likely where interventions build on or work in harmony with these factors.

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